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Instruction Update: October 30, 2018

Instruction Update: October 30, 2018
Posted on 10/30/2018

InstructionOur work as a team around instruction and learning is thoroughly underway! To kick off our year and to wrap up all of our hard work in our online book club, Dr. Linda Nathan, author of When Grit Isn’t Enough, discussed her book with staff and read selected pieces of text. 

Grade-level and specialist teams have common planning time every day. During this time, teams have the opportunity to meet, plan, and work together around three focus areas:

  Team & Logistics Time Instruction & Learning Student Support
What is it? Time to collaborate and build your team, also including announcements, planning, organizing, and thinking about transitions.
Time to grow our skills as teachers (in planning, instruction, assessing) by examining student work AND teacher work in order to reflect, ask questions, and provide feedback for growth.
Time to think about how to support all students using a strengths-based, inquiry approach that is grounded in restorative practices.  
Framing Question(s) How do we grow, develop, and collaborate as a team? What do we need to plan for as a team?
As individuals and as a team how do we design learning that: values impact over intentions, is objective driven, reflects the learners, and is authentically relevant?
How can we best meet the needs of all of our learners?
How are we valuing our impact on and through the lives of students over our intentions?
 
What do teachers do during that time? This is the most flexible block of time that teachers have. Some of the ways that they use this time are: co-planning with colleagues and special educators, coordinating and brainstorming around portfolio, team-building activities, planning and organizing.
Teachers collaborate to engage in cycles of looking at student work (protocols) AND looking at teacher work (video) where we reflect, ask questions, and provide one another with feedback for growth.
Teachers have the opportunity to celebrate students, identify areas of strength, and consider what all of our students need in order to be successful.  

InstructionIn addition, all of our core content departments have also been hard at work--with all departments focusing on developing the reasoning skills of our students:

  • Math teachers will continue their work with Lynne Godfrey around ambitious instructional strategies (including number talks) that deepen and make visible students’ mathematical thinking. 


  • English Language Arts teachers are focusing on independent reading, thinking strategies, and constructed arguments supported by evidence. 


  • Science teachers are focusing on improving the ability of students to use higher order thinking skills and to write scientific explanations based on evidence. 


  • Social Studies teachers are working to develop a service learning experience connected to the curriculum and our community.

Lastly, during our early release days, teachers are participating in an Ed-Camp-Style professional development. Teachers chose from the following deeper dives into:

  • Universal Design for Learning in conjunction with the Inclusive Practice Academy of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as well as founding Putnam Ave. Head of School and a Virtual Module Content Provider and In-Person Technical Assistance Provider for DESE’s Inclusive Practice Academy, Mirko Chardin, and Christina Farese, Putnam Ave. Instructional Coach; 


  • Design Thinking with Vicky Wu, the Executive Director and Founder of Youth CITIES (Creating Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability), an education nonprofit that teaches middle/high school students higher order thinking through an entrepreneurial mindset.

  • Race, Gender, and Intersectionality with Pamela Chu-Sheriff, founding Putnam Ave. Assistant Principal.


  • Restorative Practices through Cogenerative Groups with Jiar Ahmed, Putnam Ave. School Adjustment Counselor.


  • Neurodiversity and Cool Teaching Stuff with Desiree Phillips, Coordinator for Upper Schools, High School, and Out-of-District in the Cambridge Public Schools Office of Student Services.